HILTON HEAD ISLAND — A large crop of Portuguese man-of-war washed up on Beaufort County shores is making beachgoers a little uneasy.
The Island Packet of Hilton Head reports that hundreds of the electric blue, dumpling-shaped creatures have been washing up on local beaches in recent weeks.
The Portuguese man-of-war, which is not a jellyfish, has a whip-like sting that can hospitalize an adult.
Al Stokes, manager of the Waddell Mariculture Center in Bluffton, says that while they die shortly after drifting ashore, their venom remains potent for two or three days.
That’s causing some concern about the annual Hilton Head Polar Bear Plunge scheduled for Sunday. Organizer Tim Guest says he’s not sure what to do.
Stokes says winds from the south are probably why so many Portuguese man-of-war are washing ashore.